Tuesday, May 26, 2015
No Stumbling Blocks
"Don't place a stumbling block before the blind."
- Leviticus 19:14
A few years ago a friend from rabbinical school and I were going out for a dinner that almost turned into a weight watchers disaster. It wasn't dinner that was actually the problem, it was the fact that on every corner on our way home there was a gelato place or a bakery. I had planned friendly meal and was about to mess it all up with little falls from grace. It was either going to be death by chocolate or death by cannoli. My friend kept telling me, "let's just go inside and see if anything catches our eye." My resolve was wearing thin and I almost gave in, but not until I flexed some of my rabbi superpowers and said, "Don't put a stumbling block before for the blind!" We were finally speaking the same language and he understood that by asking me to go into those delicious corner stores, he was setting me up to stumble. I just needed to speak up.
It's hard to negotiate eating with other people and whether our loved ones realize it or not, we sometimes sabotage each other.
My dining companions sometimes ask for more chips and salsa/bread, or order a pitcher of something delicious. It's hard to resist and if it's on the table it takes a great deal of energy to keep myself from reaching for the basket... This is energy that could be put into being my usual hilarious self, but is instead funneled into restraining my limbs from doing the hand to mouth gesture. We're dining together and for some, pre-dinner bread is their favorite part of the meal, but for me it's another pitfall. This is a negotiation especially with my hubby, Aaron. Just because I have a weight problem, doesn't mean he should be deprived of every delicious thing that could steer me wrong. I do need to have some personal accountability. That being said, we try to minimize stumbling blocks when it's reasonable.
The hubby has a healthy sweet tooth and candy and ice cream are frequent guests in my home. BUT we have some rules. Full fat ice cream only crosses our door step when they are flavors that I actively dislike, such as mint or coffee. We don't bring in peanut M&Ms or snickers and if he makes brownies, I sometimes ask him to triple wrap them in something opaque. When he brings down something candy-like to snack on, he'll sometimes bring a bowl of grapes for me and this works for us.
Sometimes family can be our best supporters or biggest culprits. When my wonderful mother stays with me, instead of baking something she cuts up lots of fresh fruit. My mom has always been one of my allies in healthy eating. Meanwhile, my father (who I love very very much) snuck a cheesecake into my fridge for Shavuot. It was done with love and in the spirit of Shavuot (a dairy heavy holiday) but we spent a joyous afternoon evening off the cheesecake. For me (and the world), cheesecake=stumbling block.
But... The biggest culprit is usually me. I know that if I bring Ferrero Rochers into my house, I will spend all week going in and out of my kitchen like a moth to a flame, trying hard to make the decision to eat only one. I learned in Weight Watchers that if I leave the trigger food in the market, then I only have to make one decision (don't buy it) and it's over with. No need to sabotage myself.
One of our most valuable Weight Watchers tools is the ability to ask for help when we think we might stumble and to be self aware about our strengths and weaknesses. That seems to be just good advice in general. We all have shtick and we all stumble. To quote the Beatles, "I get by with a little help from my friends."
Posted by Dahlia Bernstein at 12:23 PM